The Harmful Effects of Opiates on the Body
Opiates are a growing concern in American society. This “opioid epidemic” is caused by the increasing amount of doctors that are prescribing opiates for chronic pain. Opioids are among the most addictive substances that exist on our planet. Once patients become addicted to their prescription medications, they seek more affordable street heroin to satiate their addiction. The effects of opiates are extremely harmful and damage many organs in the body.
The Effects of Opiates in the Brain
To understand the addiction of opiates, one must understand its effects on the brain. After heroin enters the brain, it is converted into morphine. Receptors then receive the Opiates, which triggers dopamine secretions in the brain. Dopamine is a natural chemical produced in the brain. It is responsible for the positive emotions associated with human actions like intercourse, eating, and drinking. Dopamine is accredited to work of the limbic system in the human brain. Once addiction ensues, the limbic system persuades other areas of the brain that affect judgment, reasoning, and organization. This, in turn, increases an addict’s desire to use and makes it harder to quit.
Along with the science of opioid addiction in the brain, there is a risk of physical brain damage. There are reports that injecting or smoking heroin causes brain impairment, and causes the brain to form into a spongey substance. It is also possible that brain damage can occur from non-fatal overdoses. This happens through hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Heroin’s Negative effect on the Kidneys
Opiate abusers have high levels of protein found in their urine, which is a sign of kidney disease. Kidney disease without treatment leads to kidney system failure, which ends in death without a transplant. This protein increase is caused by high levels of bacteria or additives in the drugs that have entered the body. Non-fatal overdoses also play a role in kidney disease from heroin addiction. When a body becomes unresponsive for a certain amount of time, the body sends chemicals to break down muscles in the body. These chemicals harm the kidneys and disable them from performing their normal functions.
Harmful Effects to the Digestive System by Opioid Abuse
Heroin addicts frequently suffer from digestive problems. This is because opioids prohibit the intestines from functioning normally. This causes problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, severe cramping, and anal fissures that often cause damage to the rectum to the point of needing surgical repair.
Heroin’s Attack of the Circulatory System
Organ failure in heroin users is the work of an improperly functioning circulatory system, which leads to death. Along with organ failure, opioid addicts with damaged circulatory systems are susceptible to losing extremities by way of amputation, heart lining infection, and collapsed veins. These problems are attributed to particles in the drug that block blood flow in the lungs. This leaves the body prone to infection and extremities prone to a gangrene infection. Additionally, Gangrene is an often irreversible side effect of circulation problems, and to stop it amputation of the affected area is necessary.
Effects of Opiates Include Severe Liver Disease
The liver performs many functions in the body including ridding the blood of toxins, producing bile for digestion, storing sugars, and creating cholesterol. An improperly working liver leads to poor health in any individual, but especially in heroin addicts. When the liver cleanses the blood of a heroin user to rid it of toxins, it works to also remove the heroin found in the blood stream. Every use causes damage to the liver, which means long-term users of heroin are at risk for liver disease and failure. The liver restores itself over time, so there is hope for a healthy liver once sober.
Respiratory System Problems Seen in Heroin Addicts
The effect that particles in heroin partake on the circulatory system cause the lungs to work harder. A heroin addict has to literally fight to breathe. This, along with overall poor immune health, causes the lungs to be more prone to infections like Tuberculosis and Pneumonia. Although both infections can be treated with strong antibiotics if caught early enough, they also cause death in addicts whose bodies are too weak to fight the infection.
Finding Help for Addiction before Serious Health Problems Occur
If you or someone you know is battling a heroin addiction, it is important to get help before the drug causes serious health problems. In many cases, opioid abusers seek a sober life once it is too late. Long-term effects of opiates are prominent, and some damage is irreparable. Contact us online or call 855-441-2449 if you have any questions or concerns regarding you or a loved one’s health due to opioid abuse. We have staff available 24 hours a day to help get you started on your new, addiction-free life.